Macworld today presents a new online service – the Online University – with help from the Virtual Training Company (VTC).

Macworld visitors can access VTC’s complete portfolio of training courses in a variety of Mac-related subject areas. Topics include: Internet and Web-design; desktop publishing; animation and 3D; operating systems; programming; multimedia; and video and business applications.

Choose a topic, and you’ll be presented with a list of available courses – with hours of QuickTime instruction available as a streamed movie in each course.

It’s applications-based training, though some courses (such as ‘digital home-recording studio’) are topic-based. Over 100 popular applications are covered, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe InDesign, and QuarkXPress.

Freebie trial There’s a free trial available, too – users can watch online any training video from the first three chapters of most courses. Full access costs £18 per month. For this, users get access to all available tutorials. Lessons are extensive, and vary in length – for example, the Microsoft Office 2001 for Mac course is 11 hours long, and consists of 176 movies offering guidance in various features of the application suite.

In all, the archive contains in excess of 25,000 narrated QuickTime streaming movies, which can be accessed over variable bandwidths. Users are billed automatically each month (or annually, if preferred), and there is no minimum-time contract.